Tag Archives: personal information

Senator Warner’s White Paper Gives Congress Options for Regulating Social Media and Technology Companies

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia has released a white paper outlining policy proposals for regulating social media and technology companies. The paper has gained significance in recent weeks as pressure builds on Congress to pass federal data privacy legislation. In the wake of Europe’s GDPR and California’s Consumer Privacy Act, industry groups, tech companies, and privacy activists alike have urged Congress to act.… More

Schrems v. Facebook: The Show Must Go On In Vienna, But Now As A One-Man Show

Recently, Austrian privacy activist Maximilian Schrems won a partial victory in his continuing battles with Facebook. We discuss that case below. But first, we review his prior tilts with Facebook.

Schrems in Ireland’s Courts

When Schrems was a college student, he heard a Facebook representative at a conference talk about European privacy rules with a lack of consideration that shocked him. Since then, Schrems has been fighting Facebook on many fronts.… More

Settlement Offers Guidance on What “Reasonable” Security Means Under COPPA

The FTC’s COPPA Guidance does an admirable job explaining the basics of what a business needs to do to comply with COPPA, but is vague as to how a business must protect personal information collected from children. The COPPA Guidance requires that a company use “reasonable procedures” to protect such information from unauthorized access or use, but does not explain what “reasonable procedures” means. This is,… More

Privacy Shield: Article 29 Working Party Calls Upon the European Commission and US Authorities to Restart Discussions

‎On November 28, 2017, the EU’s Article 29 Working Party issued its report on the First Annual Joint Review of the EU-US Privacy Shield, which was conducted on September 18-19, 2017.

In this 38 page report, the WP analyzed the Privacy Shield’s commercial and government aspects (as it did in its earlier opinion, issued in April 2016 when the Privacy Shield was still a draft;… More

Some Cyber Monday Shopping Tips

As you enjoy the holiday weekend, and even some Cyber Monday shopping, keep in mind these online shopping tips from the FTC:

  • Know the seller and the item. Put the company or product name in a search engine, along with “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” Read the reviews. Be sure you can contact the seller if you have a dispute.
  • Avoid clicking links in emails.…
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Mistake in Your Credit Report? The Latest Spokeo Decision Suggests You May Have A Case.

In the 9th Circuit’s August 15, 2017 decision in Robins v. Spokeo, the latest in the long-running legal debate about when a consumer cause of action exists for a data breach, the 9th Circuit has declared that inaccuracies in a published credit report may sometimes constitute a “concrete injury” sufficient to confer Article III standing. This is a significant win for consumer protection advocates,… More

How Can Yahoo E-Mail Scanning Impact the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield?

Reuters reported earlier this month that, according to three former employees, Yahoo Inc. had “complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo mail accounts at the behest of the NSA or FBI.” Yahoo responded that the article was misleading, but did not deny the scanning had occurred.

The New York Times reported further details about this scanning:  Yahoo had modified a system intended to scan emails for child pornography and spam in order to satisfy a secret court order requiring it to search for messages containing a computer “signature” tied to the communications of a state-sponsored terrorist organization.… More

EU General Data Protection Regulation Adopted

After years of intense discussions, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was finally adopted on 14 April 2016.

The GDRP sets out uniform new rules in the field of data protection across the EU, rules that will standardize the law in the 28 EU Member States and have an impact on both European and non-European companies.  For example:

  • data controllers (companies collecting and using personal information) will have a wide range of new obligations,…
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FTC Announces COPPA Settlements Based on Persistent Identifiers

The COPPA Rule requires website and online service operators to give notice to parents and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting children’s “personal information” online.  16 CFR §§ 312.4, 312.5.  The definition of “personal information” encompasses some obvious pieces of data – name and address, for example – and some less-obvious ones, such as screen names, geolocation data, and “persistent identifiers.”  A “persistent identifier” is a piece of information “that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different web sites or online services,” such as “a cookie,… More